MONTEBELLO–The Montebello Armenian Community celebrated the official opening of the Armenian Relief Society "Nayiri" chapter’s day care center–on Sunday–September 19. The pre-school which has been under construction for the past year will house 20 youngsters. After the opening–a banquet was held in the Baghramian hall–followed by a program. The day care center had been the dream of the Montebello ARS chapter for a long time. The opening ceremony took place within the newly built pre-school at 2pm. Prelate–Archbishop Mooshegh Mardirossian–introduced Very Rev. Krikor Chiftchian. In attendance along with parents and members of the community were Mayor Kathy Salazar–ARS Western Regional Executive member Christine Arakelian and Rose Altoonian–ARS Chairwoman Alice Madenlian–Armenian Revolutionary Federation representative Garo Madenlian–National Representative Assembly delegate Aris Krikorian–members of the Montebello ARS "Nayiri" chapter–members of the pre-school committee and new principal Lilit Parseghian.
The first speaker of the day was Sonya Fundukian–a member of the pre-school committee. Fundukian was quick to point out that "this day is a historical one for the Montebello ARS and the community as a whole."
"After years of hard work–we finally secured a place for our kids and future generations. Our hearts are full of happiness and pride today–because of this newly established pre-school which is the result of the hard work and determination of a handful of loyal ARS members. The person in charge of the project was Alice Madenlian–our current chairwoman–through whose leadership it was possible to complete this project and secure a home for our children and their children. And who made our voice heard to the community and its leaders until we got the permit and permission to begin the second stage of our agenda–namely the renovation. The person in charge of this crucial second stage was Olga Kirakosian–through whose leadership this building was transformed into this pre-school which stands before you today," noted Fundukian.
Fundukian then introduced all the members of the pre-school committee–Sona Arshaguni–Anita Haddad and Lilit Parseghian–who also serves as the pre-school’s principal and contributed greatly to the establishment of the pre-school in Montebello. The teachers at the pre-school are Hasmig Gagoyan–Kayane Baghdassarian–and Angela Khoshorian. The pre-school will operate from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The next speaker was the mayor of Montebello–Kathy Salazar who stated that she is very proud to see the opening of the pre-school after years of planning and hard work. She gave her support for the Armenian community and noted that the pre-school is going to play a significant role in raising youngsters in a safe and warm environment. The ceremonial cutting of the ribbon was done by Kathy Salazar and Olga Giragosian. Following–the ribbon cutting–Bishop Nareg Madarian conducted the blessing of the bread and salt.
Very Rev. Krikor Chiftchian blessed the crowd in the name of Prelate Bishop Moushegh Mardirossian and had the following words to say. "This is a time of great happiness for each and every on of us here–because it is not the doors of an ordinary house which we are opening but those of a house of learning. We spend close to twenty years of our lives in school. Education does not have and end however–it does have a beginning and it begins at this age. The baby–when he opens his eyes for the first time begins to learn. This pre-school whose opening we are celebrating here today–is to be the child’s second home. The Armenian school is not an ordinary school–but a place for the soul as well as the mind."
Rev. Chiftjian–ended his speech by praising the ARS–whose members–voluntarily and unselfishly give their entire life to the advancement of the community and the helping of others.
The Mistress of Ceremonies of the banquet which took place in "Baghramian" hall was chairwoman Alice Madenlian who stated–"Twenty years ago the chapter envisioned a way to become more helpful to working mothers by creating a place to take care of their kids while they are earning money for their families. Today we look upon that goal as reality." Madenlian remembered that five years ago the ARS took the initiative and put the long term goal (of a pre-school) into action. A lot of people approached the idea with skepticism and insecurity because they thought the pre-school would put an added financial burden upon the community–who already works hard to support the Mesrobian Armenian School–also in Montebello. The members of the ARS are certain that the pre-school will have the same influence in the community as Mesrobian has had and continues to have.
Christine Arakelian made remarks on the behalf of the Central Executive who said that the pre-school just adds to the monumental work the ARS has carried out throughout the years. She congratulated the pre-school committee members on the behalf of the Central Executive.
Garo Madenlian spoke on the behalf of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation "Dro" Chapter–expending praise to the ARS Nayiri chapter for hard work and dedication. The members of the Nayiri chapter have laid the foundation for future generations. The pre-school will have its echo within the community and will be especially appreciated by those families who have two working parents.
Congresswoman Grace Napolitano–unable to attend the event–sent a letter to express her support and praise for the very commendable project. Rev. Khoren Baboshian began the banquet after blessing the tables. A small program of songs and dance by the kids provided amusement for all those present.